Women soldiers respect local norms
Published 21/07/2011 | 05:00
WOMEN account for about 5pc of the 440 troops with the Irish battalion in south Lebanon.
And one of the more interesting positions is held by Capt Aileen Leonard, mortar troop commander at the battalion HQ in Tibnin.
The 28-year-old captain from Skibbereen in west Cork is in charge of 30 artillery troops and has responsibility for the 120mm mortars, which provide the main internal fire support for the camp.
She is acutely aware of her role in a deeply conservative society where women tend to stay in the background. "I have had no issues since I came out here but I am very careful as to how I approach the local people because I am a woman," said Capt Leonard, who returns home in November.